In my Suzuki teacher training (looooong ago), I received a fantastic handout charting the characteristics of the preschool aged child (broken down by age). There's no author named on the handout, but I believe it is the work of Marilyn OBoyle (Suzuki teacher-trainer extraordinaire). I have often referred to this handout, and believe it will be useful to other teachers and parents, so I'd love to share it here.
5 Year Old:
Relationship to Mother: Easy to work with, more independent than in the past
Relationship to Teacher: Usually work well for teacher
Relationship to Peers: Good friendships develop
Anxiety Level: Usually low. Work through things easily
Special Needs: Needs sense of progress and accomplishment
Special Gifts: Easy to work with
Physical Relationship to Violin: Beginners are sometimes stiffer but really try to do it right.
4.5 Year Old:
Relationship to Mother: Stabilizing from past desire to be independent, but unpredictable
Relationship to Teacher: Not as stubbornly independent as in the past
Relationship to Peers: Need to relate and succeed with peers
Anxiety Level: Unpredictable highs and lows
Special Needs: Esteem building and praise. Stable relationships
Special Gifts: More attentive and concentration is good (but not consistent)
Physical Relationship to Violin: A little uptight and tense but more willing to try
4 Year Old:
Relationship to Mother: Some retreating to earlier stages
Relationship to Teacher: Ups and downs
Relationship to Peers: Enjoys peers but experiences anxiety
Anxiety Level: Very high and internal
Special Needs: Need calm regular routines. Lots of praise
Special Gifts: Desire to please even when anxious
Physical Relationship to Violin: Can work longer but instability shows up sometimes
3.5 Year Old:
Relationship to Mother: Developing independence
Relationship to Teacher: Independence can block relationships
Relationship to Peers: Wants to relate to peers, and begins to
Anxiety Level: Low. Independence-created stubbornness
Special Needs: Small steps. Change pace often.
Special Gifts: Greater ability to concentrate
Physical Relationship to Violin: Have to be very exact and work from different angles.
3 Year Old:
Relationship to Mother: Close and more obedient
Relationship to Teacher: Begins to relate, if mom is close.
Relationship to Peers: Lots of watching others
Anxiety Level: Low, but some stubbornness
Special Needs: Need much repetition, very small steps
Special Gifts: Increasing attention span (still short)
Physical Relationship to Violin: Very relaxed, mold-able, but fall apart
2.5 Year Old:
Relationship to Mother: Close but willful
Relationship to Teacher: Mostly through mom
Relationship to Peers: Curiosity but no relationship
Anxiety Level: Medium - related to outside events
Special Needs: Games and tricks (don't follow directions well)
Special Gifts: Great curiosity - love to mimic
Physical Relationship to Violin: Mostly readiness. Very small steps and short sessions required.